December 2015: Protecting Migrant Humanity
For in God we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28a
I heard the sounds of a marimba band playing from afar and thought, “This is the Guatemala I know.” We had traveled to Tecum Uman, Guatemala, to attend the first Bi-national (Guatemala, Mexico) Conference on Migration, Children and Border. But Tecum Uman didn’t look anything like the Guatemala I know.
We took a walking tour of the village and went down to the Suchiate River. There was a tense feeling of despair and distress that filled the air. There were crowds of migrants aged 12 to 25 years, everywhere. We learned the largest commerce from Guatemala to Mexico is humanity.
Hundreds of Central Americans seek a place to rest their feet, their hearts and their uncertainty, at the Migrant House. It offered us an empathetic and educational experience about the reality of migrants especially women and children. The root of the problem, according to Fr. Juan Luis Carbajal is the manifestation of forced migration as an expression of violence. After working for more than two decades with a faith-based youth organization, a Catholic worker vehemently defined “the difference between today’s migration: no longer in pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ – but a way to escape the nightmare called violence in Central America.”
An outcome of the Conference was a public declaration calling for a more dignified response to the current crisis affecting Central Americans who are escaping the extreme violence in their countries. An ecumenical alliance has also opened opportunities for working for and strengthening sustainable humane protection efforts in Central America.
Gloria Vicente Canú serves with the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala (CECG). Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.